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A Strategic Approach to Web Application Security

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WhiteHat Security White Paper A Strategic Approach to Web Application Security Extending security across the entire software development lifecycle Jerry Hoff WhiteHat Security The problem: websites are
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WhiteHat Security White Paper A Strategic Approach to Web Application Security Extending security across the entire software development lifecycle Jerry Hoff WhiteHat Security The problem: websites are the new security perimeter Today, almost every enterprise conducts business online. As the applications that run online businesses spread out over technologies and platforms, the security risks also increase. No company is immune to attack. In 2012 alone, there were more than 800 reported hacking incidents, and 70% of those were perpetrated through web application Most organizations that develop custom software struggle with managing these new risks. That s because application ever changing array of attacks on them. And yet, solutions in the past focused primarily on reactive measures. Due to the unprecedented increase in the scale and intensity of sophisticated web application attacks, organizations are scrambling to re-architect their development processes to make security a major component of each phase. Many approaches for testing security after the application has been built have proven costly and caused critical deployment deadlines to be missed. Historically, there was no economical way to continuously test source code for security issues during the development process. Therefore, organizations were forced to consider security only near the end of the development process, when the web application was nearly complete. Then, applications were typically tested by either expensive consultants or tools requiring a high level of security expertise to use them effectively. Because no solution existed that could provide the continuous security guidance to developers, security was forced to the end of the development cycle. WhiteHat Security has now addressed this issue with Sentinel Source, a radically different approach to application security. Sentinel Source provides security analysis to developers from the moment A new security paradigm Security activities historically revolved only around the most critical web applications. However, recent attacks have proven that attackers can and will target non-critical applications. In today s landscape, attackers no longer need a beachhead by targeting less visible, and therefore less secure, applications such as no longer used or subsidiary websites. From these sites, hackers can now compromise your underlying security infrastructure through attacks 2 Security throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC) Web application development remains a relatively new domain. As such, formal processes and best practices for These phases are collectively referred to as the SDLC. Phases of software development: Training Requirements Design Implementation Quality assurance Production It became apparent that security was a serious issue and also the most vital missing piece in the development process. In fact, security assurance in the past was relegated to the QA phase of development when it was considered at all. Now, however, forward-thinking organizations are adding security activities to every phase of the Typical security activities in each phase of the SDLC are as follows: Training Everyone involved in web application development should be provided basic security training. Scalability and repeatability are critical aspects of effective security training programs. Traditionally in the past, security training was consistency, reproducibility and regularity of training across your entire IT workforce. Requirements if sensitive customer data will be collected and stored, requirements on how the data should be encrypted, both in transit and at rest, should also be established as a requirement. Design Once the application requirements are captured, an architecture is created that should correspond to the software of the application. Implementation After requirements have been determined and an architectural design is in place, constructing the software begins. Ideally, developers should receive security feedback while they are coding. This feedback should be done as early and often as possible. Because this phase is often the most labor-intensive, continuously running automated security assessments allows a developer to address issues in near-real time. Otherwise, organizations will develop applications built on faulty code, with security an afterthought, rather than being designed at the start. Quality assurance New code needs to be tested before it goes into a production environment to ensure that the code behaves as expected. While most organizations currently test for functional requirements, more are also beginning to test for security requirements in this phase as well. 3 Production In the deployment phase, continual testing is vital to maintain security assurance and to protect the application where should also be subjected to source, QA and production testing. Making security visible is the key to maximum security Vulnerabilities are a direct result of source code complexity. Therefore, in order to fully understand your application vulnerabilities and the overall enterprise security posture of your websites, you need to secure more of your source code throughout both the development and production processes. It s easy to insist, Why can t developers code securely, but the fact is that web application security is an extremely complicated problem. And with millions of applications and lines of code already existing online, web security is now more than ever an arcane knowledge-set that is continually evolving into new parameters. Application code may contain a large number of obscure and hard-to-see issues that are further obscured by the everincreasing complexity of modern web applications. So it s natural that some security issues are nearly impossible to identify in a timely way by developers, security teams and stakeholders. In the past, most organizations depended on a few highly trained individuals who investigated code for security risk effectively. Source Code vs. Binary Analysis Why is it better to assess source code than binary code? Here s how WhiteHat Security views these two approaches. Analyzing the source code is absolutely the best approach (provided that the source code is available). Because developers create the source code, any vulnerabilities are embedded within address security issues that arise during the development process. Analyzing source code also allows analysis of the exact vulnerable method calls being made, so that the remediation advice is both pertinent and actionable. WhiteHat Sentinel Source analyzes source code, providing developers On the other hand, analyzing source code is better than binary analysis. Binary analysis perform assessments on compiled code that is not decipherable by developers. For this reason, with distinguish the code written by internal developers and the code inherent to the platform. This shortcoming results in non-actionable and confusing reports for the developers. However, binary analysis can be a suitable last resort in those situations where source code is unavailable. 4 The challenge: enterprise SAST solutions that fail to work Static Application Security Testing (SAST) has continued to play an important security role, building different generations on top of one another. Below is a high-level overview of those generations performing web application analysis: First generation: standalone tools organization or by external consultants. These tools were faster and more comprehensive than a consultant s manual enterprise. Furthermore, most enterprises cannot afford either the time or human resources to operate these tools. Second generation: cloud-based SAST In an effort to address the shortcomings of early SAST products, a new class of vendors developed cloud-based and submit their application to the cloud. The idea is that testing done in the cloud reduces the need for manual interaction. This generation of SAST solutions yielded improvements over the previous models; however, there were still several These second generation solutions required an organization to hand over its entire source code for analysis. If the organization considers source code to be its intellectual property, that presents a serious problem in having the code analyzed for security vulnerabilities. That s because even though the code is only in binary format, it can be easily decompiled to source code within seconds. In addition, second generation analysis is not continuous, so the application had to be nearly complete before analysis would be useful. As a result, the security advice reached the developer much too late in the development cycle. Not to reduce them to a common format and then scan the common format. This method dramatically reduces the depth strapped enterprises dealing with an expanding array of threats. The solution: WhiteHat Sentinel Source WhiteHat Security, a pioneer in delivering easy-to-use and scalable website security solutions for production websites, includes WhiteHat Sentinel Source, a SaaS-based annual subscription service for Static Application Security Testing modern enterprises. Sentinel Source provides in-depth, high quality assessments, which are free from false-positives, while respecting the 5 Customer premises WhiteHat Security Assess results Threat Research Center Source code repository .xml WhiteHat Sentinel API VM or device WhiteHat Sentinel UI Why WhiteHat Sentinel Source? WhiteHat Sentinel Source was architected and designed around four principal areas. Daily scheduled and on-demand assessments faulty code. (TRC). This ensures that security reports contain solid, accurate and actionable instructions for developers, as well as detailed advice for remediation. Protection of intellectual property Sentinel Source runs only within the organization s network, ensuring that its source code tree always remains within the organization. No uploading of fully compiled source code or binaries outside of the company is necessary. Ease of use within the appliance box, there s no need to install anything on the developers machines. All Sentinel Source results are available via the common Sentinel web interface, and the Sentinel Open XML API enables easy integration into Archer, Jira and other applications. 6 How Sentinel Source Works One-time set up Regularly scheduled assessments Point / feed code directly int VM and schedule Run assessment Security engineer View results in Sentinel dashboard Static Analysis vs. Dynamic Analysis Why an enterprise should use SAST and DAST together WhiteHat Security is a pioneer in application security for production and pre-production websites. Now, that knowledge and experience is being applied to the SAST arena. It is vital is to understand that application security is not a single solution problem but rather a strategic initiative. The threat landscape is constantly changing. With hundreds of millions of websites already should take is to assess the security of their production sites, their most vulnerable point of attack. Once an organization s security posture has been established, static analysis should be implemented to assess new applications during the development process or code changes to existing applications. The goal is to create a security process that tracks an application throughout the SDLC. Each type of testing has its own advantages. Performing nightly static application security testing on source code will greatly assist developers to ensure that they code securely throughout the development process. Vulnerabilities such as SQL Injection, Command Injection, Improper and/or Custom Cryptography, and a host of other issues that occur primarily on the be eliminated early in the process. However, certain other types of vulnerabilities can only be seen once the code is live on the web. Therefore dynamic scanning of production applications is equally critical. Issues such as cross-site request forgery, cross-site scripting are much more easily Sentinel production family. And, with a automatically mitigate most vulnerabilities while awaiting developer remediation. Using SAST and DAST technologies at the appropriate stage during the SDLC is necessary to create a strategic enterprise application security program. Conclusion With the advent of Sentinel Source, we stand on the brink of a complete revolution in secure web development. By giving developers continuous feedback during the entire development process, by tracking in near real-time when current global epidemic of website hacking at the beginning of the development process. 7 WhiteHat Security White Paper Jerry Hoff is vice president of Static Code Analysis division at WhiteHat Security. In this role, he oversees the development of WhiteHat s cloud-based static application security testing (SAST) service. Prior to WhiteHat, Mr. Hoff was co-founder and managing partner of Infrared Security, a leading application security professional and training delivery. He is also the lead of the OWASP AppSec Tutorial Series. WhiteHat Security is the leading provider of application risk assessment and management services that enable customers to protect critical data, ensure compliance, and narrow windows of risk. By providing accurate, complete, and cost-effective need to prevent web attacks. security market. To learn more about WhiteHat Security and how our solutions can support your applications throughout the entire software development lifecycle, please visit our website at WhiteHat Security, Inc
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